Program Director: Launchpad

Launchpad Background:

Launchpad is a new initiative from Building 21 that seeks to directly connect young people to living-wage paying jobs that offer upwardly mobile career opportunities, while providing them with the credentials, skills, mindsets, and experience to thrive in these roles. The program will begin preparing students during their final two years in high school and will continue in the two years that follow. The students we seek to partner with are those in the “middle” – not on a clear track for a four year college but also not in need of significant academic remediation. These students too often struggle to find success in college or in career right out of high school, failing to “latch on” to life trajectories that reflect their potential.

Vision: Realize the equitable distribution of opportunity for young people.

Mission: Bring together networks of students, high schools, post-secondary institutions, and employers to co-create new pathways for young people that lead to good jobs in growing industries.

 By integrating career-connected learning, authentic work experiences, and the development of “Future Ready” skills, Launchpad will harness the power of connected networks of schools and employers to prepare students to thrive as they transition into full-time work. If we support students to mastery across all future ready skills, support students in their acquisition of job/industry specific skills, create lower-stakes opportunities for students to do real work with real customers at Launchpad Inc., and place them in good-fit living wage roles, then students will be launched into the next phase of their lives, ready to thrive in their first role and along an upward career trajectory in a growing industry.

Building 21 Background:

The mission of Building 21 is to empower networks of learners to connect with their passions and build agency to impact their world. Building 21 is a nonprofit organization that is reimagining secondary schooling to meet the needs of all learners. Building 21 partners with school districts to design, launch and operate innovative schools. Our schools are afforded significant flexibility and autonomy by our district partners to pursue our vision for student and adult learning. We also work with schools and districts that are making the transition to competency-based education through our Learning Innovation Network. Our mission is to create a network approach to secondary and post-secondary learning for high school age youth that fundamentally reorients the system to place the learner at the center.

Position Overview:

Launchpad is currently looking for a passionate and experienced individual to serve as the Program Director. The ideal Program Director possesses a deep commitment to our mission, and a strong belief in positive youth development and the power of innovative solutions to help young people connect with their bright futures. The Program Director will work with the Launchpad team to design, implement, and evaluate high quality programming that focuses on future ready skill building, offers industry discovery focused initially on Information Technology, and builds a strong and cohesive community with the inaugural cohort. This individual will work closely with the Executive Director to create a strong network of school partners and a comprehensive programming model that will ensure that Launchpad is on track for meeting or exceeding its measures of success early on in its inception.

What you’ll do:

  • Oversee the development and implementation of the Future Ready programming, designed to support the development of the critical academic and non-academic skills, knowledge and mindsets that young people need to thrive in the 21st century labor market
  • Provide leadership and supervision, which includes establishing clear performance expectations; meeting regularly for supervision and coaching; conducting evaluations to measure progress toward achieving established goals; and providing professional learning and leadership opportunities to a growing team of program staff consisting of an 11th Grade Coordinator, Coaches and Social Workers
  • Create and sustain a collaborative relationship and buy in with schools within the Launchpad network to ensure that selected schools feel a deep sense of engagement and ownership in the Launchpad program
  • Develop goals and key performance indicators for each of the programmatic elements of the Launchpad initiative
  • Coordinate use of facilities and community space for program activities and
  • Gather, analyze, and process program data, including student feedback, to drive decisions and continuous program improvement
  • Create and maintain accurate written documentation of the programming model to support with potential expansion and/or succession planning
  • Inform Launchpad’s professional development strategy to ensure that all staff and key partners have access to the training, coaching, and practice needed to build and sustain relationships and respond appropriately to student choices that may interfere with their success or pathway
  • Ensure access to mission critical and mutually beneficial partnership opportunities that expands Launchpad’s capacity to deliver high quality programming and enables the team to meet and exceed targets for enrollment, retention and placement in living wage opportunities
  • Strengthen Launchpad’s brand awareness and marketing by leveraging opportunities to share program highlights with external stakeholders via social media and other communication channels
  • Enhance the program design and delivery by staying abreast of best practices in youth development and workforce development
  • Implement and oversee a transparent and comprehensive assessment system to track student progress towards mastery of critical Future Ready competencies
  • Oversees the administrative functions and activities related to the dual enrollment partnership(s) to ensure success for students and postsecondary partners
  • Other responsibilities as assigned by the Executive Director

The beliefs, mindsets, and skills you possess:

  • Belief that building strong and caring relationships with students and adults is the foundation upon which a successful workforce development program is built
  • Deep commitment to positive youth development and an unwavering faith in the potential of every student
  • Fundamental belief that every student has the ability to design their own path to success in the postsecondary world and in the value that transferable skills attained through workforce training programs can offer along this pathway
  • Comfort with utilizing multiple types of data to support student development
  • Comfort with change, iteration, and ambiguity
  • A growth mindset, understanding that failure is the path to success
  • Commitment to working on personal growth and continuous learning
  • Willingness to contribute to a collaborative culture in a way that builds trust, challenges and supports each member of the Launchpad community
  • Solid understanding of secondary education, youth development, and workforce development
  • High level of self-awareness, humility, interpersonal skills, and emotional intelligence
  • Capacity to accept feedback from others, make decisions, and exhibit sound and accurate judgment in a dynamic, entrepreneurial environment

Salary and Benefits:

  • Salary: Commensurate with qualifications and experience
  • Benefits: Strong benefits package provided
  • Applicants will be provided with a salary range and information about benefits early in the interview process

Application Submission:

As an equal opportunity employer, we are committed to identifying and developing the skills and leadership of people from diverse backgrounds. We encourage all qualified candidates to apply. Building 21 is a non-profit organization that is committed to attracting, developing and retaining exceptional people, and to creating a work environment that is dynamic, rewarding

and enables each of us to realize our potential. Building 21’s work environment is safe and open to all employees and partners, respecting the full spectrum of races, ethnicities, national

origins, ages, sexual orientations, gender identities, beliefs, religions, faiths and ideologies, cultures, socio-economic backgrounds and levels of physical ability.


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